Irreverent and ingenious

If you’ve got a hankering for a dark comedy about cults that incorporates musical stylings of bounce, country-western and mambo (and who doesn’t?) then you’re in luck: The Comboil Play, a modern-day Faustian tale, will run Aug. 3-5 at the newly opened Toy Boat Community Art Space.

The Comboil centers around an obscure cult that promises recruits “a new life” if they sacrifice themselves to the order’s cause. Written and directed by, Jessie Smith, better known as street performer The Silver Drummer Girl, The Comboil showcases the wild and creative pursuits of a group of actors, designers and musicians reputed for their ability to turn small budgets into theatrical gold.

The large cast of performers includes Runaway Circus members Sadye Osterloh and Nina Ruffini, and art-punk musicians Joel Jackson and Allie Morris (of Common Visions and The Dispersants, respectively).

If Smith’s last production, The Triangle Theories — an absurdist fantasy musical set in the Bermuda Triangle — is any indication of what the The Comboil Play will be like, then viewers better collect their wits and settle in for a show that is both irreverent and ingenious. Such productions are an invigorating reminder of Asheville’s robust DIY creative scene.

Proceeds from The Comboil will go toward maintaining Crawley Gardens, a grass-roots sustainable housing community in Buncombe County. “Earth building and alternative energy sources are at the heart of this land project,” reads a statement issued by Crawley Garden members. To learn more, visit

The Comboil plays Friday, Aug. 3, Saturday, Aug. 4 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 5 at 6:30 p.m. For more information about Toy Boat, including directions to the space, visit


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